Exile and Imprisonment Locations of the Residents of Lithuania (1941)
Compiled by: Richard Gostautas
Website/Database design by: Richard Gostautas

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Armed Resistance Fighters

Lithuania has a storied history of armed conflict in defense of its nation and identity, but it was not until February 16, 1918 that the Lithuanian Council unanimously passed the resolution for the re-establishment of the Independent State of Lithuania. Despite this declaration, Lithuania continued to fight agression from Poland, Germany and Russia. It was not until May 15, 1920 that Lithuania's independence was confirmed by the first meeting of the Constituent Seimas and the sovereignty of the Republic of Lithuania, with the capital city in Vilnius, was consolidated. On July 12, 1920, Soviet Russia signed a peace treaty with Lithuania stating that "...without any reservations, Russia recognizes Lithuania's independence and self-government with all its due jurisdictional rights, and with good will renounces for all times, all rights of Russian sovereignty which she had over the Lithuanian nation and its territories". However, on August 23, 1939, Soviet foreign minister Vyacheslav Molotov and the German foreign minister Joachim von Ribbentropthe signed the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, also known as the Hitler-Stalin pact (Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, Nazi-Soviet pact). Although the treaty was officially labeled as the Treaty of Nonaggression between Germany and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the pact included a secret protocol, in which the independent countries of Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Romania were divided into spheres of interest. This secret protocol explicitly assumed territorial and political rearrangements in the areas of these countries. This resulted in a new occupation campaign against Lithuania on June 15, 1940, when the Soviet government began moving troops into all regional centers and strategic locations that resulted in Lithuanian President A. Smetona withdrawing to Germany

Then on August 3, 1940 Lithuania was annexed and incorporated into the Soviet Union. With a heavy hand, Article 58 of the Soviet penal code was enforced in which any relative or associate of a person charged with a political crime could be found guilty of that crime. Given these provisions, nearly the entire population of Lithuania was liable to be prosecuted, deported, tortured, or executed at the hands of the NKVD. Also at this time, Soviets and local collaborators made preparations for mass deportations following a plan devised by the State Security Deputy Commissar Ivan Serov. This plan was executed in October and November of 1940 by Lithuanian Internal Affairs Commissar Aleksandras Guzevicius. The instructions of this plan were to identify and list any anti-Soviet "elements"; those that might pose a threat to communization and russification. These groups included: (1) Former members of legislative bodies and prominent members of political parties; (2) Army officers from the Russian Civil War (1917-1921); (3) Prosecutors, judges, and attorneys; (4) Government and municipal officials; (5) Policemen and prison officials; (6) Members of the National Guard; (7) Mayors; (8) Border and prison guards; (9) Active members of the press; (10) Active members of the farmers' union; (11) Business owners; (12) Large real estate owners; (13) Ship owners; (14) Stockholders; (15) Hoteliers and restaurateurs; (16) Members of any organization considered to be right wing; (17) Members of the White Guard; (18) Members of anti-communist organizations; (19) Relatives of any person abroad; (20) Families against whom reprisals had been taken during the Soviet regime; (21) Active members in labor unions; (22) Persons with anti-communist relatives abroad; and (23) Clergymen and active members of religious organizations. The registration of anti-Soviet elements had been completed by the beginning of 1941. The total number of people registered reached approximately 320,000 entries. These lists also included teachers and professors, school/college students, farmers, industry workers and craftsmen.

In a directive issued on May 19, 1941 by Vsevolod Merkulov, a secret order was prepared for a detailed operation regarding deportations. This secret order gave instructions for a "trio", an NKVD soldier, a local communist and a KGB man, to be set up in each administrative centre of Lithuania. Then on June 4, 1941, all district chiefs of the NKGB received Serov's secret instruction regarding the procedure of deportations, in which each trio was responsible for exiling at least two families each within two hours. Thus on June 14, 1941, at 4 a.m., the deportation campaign was launched throughout the entire country of Lithuania. The security police led by local police and communist party officials began knocking down doors and arresting family members. They were given 30 minutes (sometimes up to an hour) to gather their belongings (mostly what they could carry) and food (for up to one month). The rest of the families property was confiscated, and in most cases, ransacked by the security police, local police and communist party officials. The families were taken by truck to the Naujoji Vilnia Railway Station (near Vilnius). Using NKVD troops to prevent victims from escaping and contacting others, families were crammed into cattle cars for transport, in which men were separated from their families. Most men were transported to concentration camps in the Krasnojarsk Territory while women, children and the elderly, were transported to the Altai Territory, the Komi republic and to the Tomsk Region. In one week, 30,425 deportees in 871 freight cars were sent to various remote regions of the Soviet Union, a time that will always been known as "Soviet Terror". Close to 40% of the deportees were children under the age of 16. Of the deported, more than 50% of them died quickly. Though there was a break in the deportation during the outbreak of the German-Soviet war, deporatation resumed in 1944 through 1948. Including 220,000 Holocaust victims, during both the Nazi and and Soviet occupations, it is estimated that the loss of population amounted to almost 33% of the total population of Lithuania (in 1940). To those who have lost family, endured this horror and were subjected to the hardships perpetrated upon them, these crimes against all Baltic nations, will never be forgotten.

The information in this database is a work-in-progress and contains a partial listing of the major exile and imprisonment locations of the residents of Lithuania. This database includes the location, additional information about the location (if known) as well as the district, region/territory and country. In the future, a map of all locations will be included with this database.

References:

  • Acquaintance with Lithuania, Book of the Millennium - Volume 1 - The State, Krastotvarka, Kaunas, 1999.
  • The Lithuanian National Revolt of 1941, Algirdas Martin Budreckia, Lithuanian Encyclopedia Press, 1968.
  • Lietuvos Gyventoju Genocidas (A-Z 1939-1941), Volume I, Genocide and Resistance Research Center of Lithuania (ISBN 9986-757-28-2), 1999.
  • Siberia, Mass Deportations from Lithuania to the USSR, compiled by Dalia Kuodyte and Rokas Tracevskis, Genocide and Resistance Research Center of Lithuania, 2005.
  • Wikipedia: Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Molotov-Ribbentrop_Pact


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